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CONSUMER WATCH: Fourth of July Costs Up

From the grocery store to the gas pumps, Americans will spend more to celebrate July Fourth this year.
Whether staying at home to host family and friends or heading out on a summer road trip, Americans will find the Fourth of July will take a bigger bite out of their wallets this year.

A survey of cookout costs by the American Farm Bureau Federation finds the overall cost of a party for ten up about five percent over last year, to 58 dollars and 72 cents.

What's boosting that cost? Mostly meat prices, the group says, with an historically low cattle herd nationwide pushing things like hamburgers higher, and a drop in the number of hog farmers, pushing up the price of pork.

In addition to 13 percent increases for both the cost of 2 pounds of ground round hamburger meat, and 4 pounds of spare ribs in the Farm Bureau tally, dairy products also climbed - up 14 percent for a pound of cheese, and almost 8 percent for chocolate milk.

Also higher ahead of the holiday, gas prices. According to AAA, drivers will pay the highest Fourth of July prices at the pump since 2008 and an average of 20 cents more per gallon than last year. That's largely due to market fears over the violence in Iraq.

Still, Americans seem ready to celebrate. In a survey by the National Retail Federation, more than 70 percent of consumers said higher gas prices won't impact their holiday spending on cookouts, barbecues and more, expected to reach $6.2-billion.
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